Ivan Castell’s synthwave documentary The Rise of the Synths has been making waves since it first started to hit film festivals last year. The John Carpenter-narrated film features interviews with a bunch of artists familiar to Vehlinggo readers — such as College, Electric Youth, Maethelvin, The Midnight, 80s Stallone, Miami Nights 1984, Lazerhawk, Mecha Maiko, Gunship, and NINA — discussing their contributions to the genre; the influence of the genre’s overall impact on the musical and visual landscape of the past few years; and their classic influences such as Carpenter, Giorgio Moroder, and Tangerine Dream, among many other fine things.
Tomorrow, Lakeshore Records digitally releases the score composed by OGRE Sound (AKA OGRE AKA Robin Ogden), another of the artists interviewed for the documentary. (You can pre-order it right now, though.) Today, Vehlinggo premieres a track from the score entitled “The Rise of the Synths Redux.” The rhythm has the air of an ode to the work of the film’s narrator, but it also has Ogden’s Berlin School-esque finger prints all over it. This is by design.
“When I sat down to soundtrack The Rise Of The Synths, I was thinking about how to distill four decades worth of electronic music into a cohesive musical narrative,” OGRE says. “I believe that music technology has always influenced composition, and that groundbreaking innovation and genre-defining or genre-breaking albums can largely be traced to the advent of new equipment.”
The Rise of the Synths explores synthwave’s rise from MySpace to soundtracks for the likes of 2011’s Drive and Stranger Things and beyond. The film comes out on DVD and Blu-ray the same day as the score.
“Ivan really wanted the score to support the film’s narrative elements, and to tap into the emotional connection we feel with the past,” Ogden said in a press release. “I largely let the Id of the synthesizer, each instrument’s personality, tell The Rise Of The Synths’ story. Synths really informed every musical choice and helped chart the thematic development over the course of the movie, decade by decade. Whether modern, vintage, analog or digital, each instrument has its own unique voice echoing across yester-decades, or even into the future. I think this situates it as real music of the present, music for now, and to me that is what synthwave is all about.”
The Rise of the Synths Tracklist
- Creation Myths (Opening Titles)
- Synth Rider: Night Drive
- Rebel Beauty
- Analog Wasn’t Cool
- Rebel Instinct
- A Strange Kid
- Rewinding The Future
- The Rise Of The Synths
- Synths Weren’t Cool
- Cheap & Fast
- Can I Take a Ride With You?
- The Rise Of The Synths Redux
While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out the companion album to The Rise of the Synths, featuring the likes of Moroder, Com Truise, Robert Parker, Code Elektro, Daniel Davies, Dance With the Dead, and yes, OGRE (and more).